LOCATION: North Carolina State Capitol
DOCKET NO.: 74-1529
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
CITATION: 426 US 637 (1976)
ARGUED: Feb 24, 1976
DECIDED: Jun 17, 1976
Joseph E. Lynch - for respondent
Joel Lewittes - for the petitioner
Facts of the case
Media for Henderson v. MorganAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 24, 1976 in Henderson v. Morgan
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 17, 1976 in Henderson v. Morgan
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the court in 74-1529 Henderson against Morgan will be announced by Mr. Justice Stevens.
John Paul Stevens:
In 1965, the respondent in this case was indicted for first degree murder.
As a result of a plea bargain, he plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.
Before entering his plea, he was not informed by anyone.
The prosecutor, the New York State trial judge or his appointed council that an intent to cause death was an element of the offense of second degree murder.
For that reason in a collateral attack on his conviction, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York held that his plea was not an intelligent and voluntary admission of guilt and therefore that his conviction did not satisfy the constitutional requirements of due process.
Accordingly, a writ of habeas corpus issued which means that he must be given an opportunity by the New York State Court to enter a new plea.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court.
We granted certiorari and for reasons stated in an opinion filed with the clerk, we now affirm that judgment.
Mr. Justice white has filed a concurring opinion which joins the opinion of the court in which he is joined by Mr. Justice Stewart, Mr. Justice Blackmun and Mr. Justice Powell.
Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion in which the Chief Justice has joined.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Stevens.